Asobi (遊び) – literally means “play” in Japanese, as in “to play a game“. In the context of carpentry, asobi refers to a given measure of freedom of movement, or “play”, often for moving parts, without which the part in question wouldn’t function properly. 

Diagram of Shouji & Kamoi

A sliding door for example, requires a certain degree of play between door and upper rail if it is to slide freely without undue friction. Such doors are also made to be pushed up into the extra space and the lower end pulled out when removing.

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